Interview w/ Kenzie Christiansen, Full Playoff Bracket Breakdowns

Issue 64

  
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Good morning lacrosse fans. Well, here we are, it’s playoff time! Before we dig into all the brackets, I get asked all the time how people can support the Utah Lax Report. There are a couple of ways:

  1. Go to Vessel Kitchen for your next meal. It’s great food by lacrosse-loving people and you won’t be disappointed.

  2. Support a local lacrosse store. They are the lifeblood of the community and it’s important to keep them going!

  3. Donate to One Love. One Love educates young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships, empowering them to identify and avoid abuse and learn how to love better. If you’ve never heard of One Love, I’d highly recommend learning more about it.

  4. Donate to the Give & Go Foundation. The Give & Go Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization on a mission to #GrowTheGame by creating, educating, and inspiring athletes and coaches worldwide.

  5. Donte to the Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust. The Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust was established in September 2001 by the Crowther Family to honor and keep their beloved son’s memory alive through good works benefitting young people. 

  6. If you’ve done all the above and have a few bucks left, I do accept Venmo @TimHaslam. The verification code is 0775.

I keep everything free so that all can enjoy it. Thank you for being great fans throughout the season. Let’s get to it!

Interview with Kenzie Christiansen

Kenzie Christiansen

My podcast guest today is Kenzie Christiansen who is currently the director of Tornadic Lacrosse. She has been a coach, played high school lacrosse at Woods Cross, college lacrosse at the University of Utah and is also an official. We talked about her lacrosse experiences and then dove into the girls brackets.

Game Night Live Rewind

The second half of the podcast features the audio from the boys bracket recap show that I was a guest on with the fine folks at Game Night Live Rewind. You can also watch the show here:

There is a ton of content in this podcast, so please give it a listen. You can listen to the latest podcast above or on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a rating!

Leave a comment below with your picks to win it all!

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Bracket Links

Boys Division A Bracket

Before we begin, I’d invite you to join the Tribal West Lacrosse Bracket Challenge. The winner of the boys Division A bracket challenge will get their choice of a camp entry to the Tribe Camp this summer, a $50 gift card to Tribal West or a $25 gift card to Tribal West. The second-place winner will get to choose between whatever the winner doesn’t choose and the third place winner will get whatever is left.1

Boys Bracket Challenge

First Round - May 18

No. 1 Corner Canyon (18-0) v. No. 16 Skyline (10-5)
Corner Canyon - Jon King 95G 45A, Mason Quick 84G 30A
Skyline - Max Parker 29G 24A, Joe Goodman 28G 24A

Corner Canyon Head Coach Aaron Ika said, “Coach Sanchez will have his team ready to battle and we know we will get their best game. We have a team made of of guys that step up game by game and week by week. King, Neilsen, Quick, DeGracie all lead statistically on offense but Franckowiak and Serrell are no slouches either. Santi, Hanks, Egan and White anchor a stingy aggressive defense. I am just excited for the playoffs and we know as a team that an undefeated season means nothing now that we are in the playoffs. The boys will not rest on what they did. They are ready to fight and compete for every play.”

Skyline Head Coach Joe Sanchez replied to my email with, “Have you ever seen the movie Miracle?” Of course I have coach!

No. 2 Park  City (14-2) v. No. 15 Lone Peak (9-6)
Previous Matchup: March 9, Park City won 21-18
Park City - Connor Monson 49G 29A, Chase Beyer 44G 28A
Lone Peak - Garrett Haas 88G 38A, Luke Tucker 27G 31A

Park City Head Coach Michael Persky said, “Lone Peak has had one of the toughest schedules this year. They’ve been in every game and lost a couple by just a few goals including to us. They have probably the best player in the state in Garrett Haas. We expect this to be a battle. A bit of trivia: last year Lone Peak was boarding the bus to Park City when we all got the call that the season was canceled.”

Lone Peak Head Coach Bruce Tucker said, “They are a great team.  Many weapons and just solid players. We will need a big offensive game from Garrett Haas and great team defense anchored by Luke Tucker. We are excited for the match up and to get another shot at one of the best teams.”

No. 3 Farmington (16-0) v. No. 14 Brighton (10-5)
Previous Matchup: March 15, Farmington won 10-8
Farmington - Cole Beynon 42G 20A, Brayden Buckley 41G 15A
Brighton - Carter Budge 47G 14A, Marcus Gundersen 146 saves, 56% save percentage

Farmington beat Brighton this season, 10-8, but that was almost two months ago. A lot has changed for both teams so I think this one should be a great game. If you look at the programs as a whole, Farmington has only played in one full-length playoff game, a 9-8 loss to Timpview in 2019. They did make it to the final game of the IMLAX summer tournament last year but lost to Fremont. Brighton on the other hand has won 4 state championships.

No. 4 Olympus (14-2) v. No. 13 Timpview (12-4)
Previous Matchup: April 14, Olympus won 13-8
Olympus - Hutton Murphy 46G 40A, Carson Bennion 63% faceoffs
Timpview - Devin Halversen 37G 39A, Joseph Ivins 34G 11A

Timpview Head Coach Taylor Redd said, “Olympus is an extremely well-coached team. They play one of the best zones I’ve seen at the high school level. On top of that, they fly around the field with a ton of energy. Our guys are going to need to fly around the field and match their energy. We’re going to need to play 100% energy for the entire night. Last time we played Olympus, we were missing Charlie Freedman, our leading goal scorer. It will be a team effort to win but having Charlie back will help us be much more explosive. We’re excited to play Olympus again. They were the best team we played and we’re excited to see how we’ve improved.”

No. 5 Green Canyon (15-1) v. No. 12 Waterford (14-2)
Previous Matchup: March 23, Green Canyon won 15-10
Green Canyon - Mason Anderson 57G 50A, Jake Lundin 34G 36A 70% faceoffs
Waterford - Mike Osborn 56G 33A, Jake Osborn 50G 25A

Green Canyon Head Coach Troy Oldham said, “They have a really talented faceoff specialist and their poles are very physical. We have been watching them closely since the last game, and we know they are a much-improved team from when we played them earlier this year.  They are well-coached and have a ton of tradition with lacrosse so we know it's going to be a battle! Our two work-horses are Jake Lundin and Mason Anderson. While they are not our only great players, when they are both hot and playing well the rest of our team really clicks. We love having these two leaders in key positions on their field and they are both very generous in assists and able to score from multiple locations on the field. I'm so pleased with our defense this year, they have really stepped up and accepted the many challenges we have thrown at them. Jacob Regen and Luke Lee are our two senior poles who have played near-flawless games this past month and they are such fierce competitors. They are both pretty hyped to be in the playoffs and ready to play at an even higher level.” 

Waterford Head Coach Jack Matthews said, “We played Green Canyon earlier this year, so we know a little bit about them. Our boys are excited to get some revenge for our loss earlier in the season. It's a team game for us. We've had a balanced offense all year, and if we can get everyone involved and on the scoresheet we are tough to beat. The three 4A teams still alive would have made a great 4A state tournament, but we're excited to fight for this trophy.”

No. 6 Davis (15-1) v. No. 11 Bingham (14-2)
Davis - Rhett Rice 66G 32A, Blake Williams 37G 18A
Bingham - Logan Tew 51G 10A, Christian Jones 97 saves, 69% save percentage

I don’t see any reason why Davis wouldn’t win this game. The only common opponent is Park City which both teams lost to, however, the Park City team that Davis played is a much different one than Bingham played.

No. 7 Mountain Ridge (14-2) v. No. 10 Juan Diego Catholic (14-2)
Mountain Ridge - David Wright 58G 31A, Dylan Ballard 65% faceoffs
Juan Diego - Kyle Ebner 43G 16A, Andrew Bathurst 101 saves, 60% save percentage

Both teams are 14-2 but the two losses for each team tell a different story. For Mountain Ridge, they lost to No. 1 Corner Canyon and No. 2 Park City. Juan Diego lost to No. 3 Farmington and No. 12 Waterford. The Mountain Ridge offense is too potent for the Juan Diego defense who has only played one Division A team in the last 9 games while beating 8 Division C teams.

No. 8 American Fork (12-3) v. No. 9 Fremont (14-2)
American Fork - Garrison Grimes 31G 9A, Zachary Bezzant 67% faceoffs
Fremont - Carson Isaacson 51G 28A, Davis Searle 34G 38A

I think American Fork feels they are better than the No. 8 seed so they’ll have something to prove. The last two games have felt like playoffs games for the Silverwolves who are coming off a 15-14 loss to Davis and a 9-8 win over Weber.

Boys Division B Bracket

First Round - May 18

No. 1 Weber (12-4) v. No. 16 Roy (8-10)
Previous Matchup: March 18, Weber won 12-9. April 20, Weber won 11-6.
Weber - Ace Nichols 73G 49A, Squish Easley 49G 7A
Roy - Colby Dickson 39G 16A, Samuel Kennedy 41G 2A

Weber Head Coach Alex Gorton said, “I know they are a tough physical team. Sam Kennedy can score and has shown it in multiple games. This will be our third time seeing them this season. Roy is physical so if we can possess and win the groundball battle we'll be in good shape. Ace Nichols is the go-to impact player. Outside of him I'll look to Ammon Briggs to help possess the ball and run the offense. For Roy, Sam Kennedy knows how to score goals. Excited for Weber to host a home playoff game, that hasn't happened in a while. (Editor’s Note: Best I can tell the last time Weber hosted a playoff game was 2011.)

No. 2 Riverton (11-3) v. No. 15 Salem Hills (8-8)
Previous Matchup: March 19, Riverton won 19-2
Riverton - Jack Mortensen 41G 9A, Zane Johanson 54% faceoffs
Salem Hills - Landon Buttars 46G 12A, Bryson Leary 69% faceoffs

No. 3 Sky View (10-5) v. No. 14 Maple Mountain (9-7)
Sky View - Parker Robbins 35G 21A, Porter Jackson 167 saves, 58% save percentage
Maple Mountain - Jacob Nelson 48G 5A, Casey Watkins 173 saves, 53% save percentage

No. 4 Alta (10-6) v. No. 13 Ridgeline (8-8)
Alta Berkley - Horoba 34G 57A, Tyler Parry 114 saves, 59% save percentage
Ridgeline - Tyson Mckee 34G 29A, Dante Villa 37G 19A

Alta Head Coach Brandon Horoba said, “On paper, they are a solid team and they have won some close games which shows they know what it takes to compete and win when the game is on the line. We are going to have to play a good game, take care of the ball and be aggressive on defense.  It will take our team to put in a good effort for sure this will not be a game that is handed to us no doubt.  I know they are going to come ready to play and we will have to bring that same intensity. Can't wait for the playoffs to start going to be a long week waiting for that first game.”

No. 5 Wasatch (10-6) v. No. 12 East (6-7)
Previous Matchup: March 16, Wasatch won 10-9 (OT)
Wasatch - Gabe King 79G 32A, Josh Nokes 41G 46A
East - Petelo Tafisi 28G 6A, Gunner Longnecker 71 saves, 51% save percentage

No. 6 Bountiful (9-7) v. No. 11 Copper Hills (9-7)
Bountiful - Hayden Hanson 54G 7A 59% faceoffs, Sam Lefevre 42G 23A
Copper Hills - Derek Stewart 32G 9A, Logan Kofford 213 saves 65% save percentage

No. 7 Westlake (8-7) v. No. 10 Lehi (9-7)
Previous Matchup: March 9, Westlake won 22-6
Westlake - Hunter Hernandez 40G 34A, Hunter Larsen 111 gbs, 56 CTO, 4G
Lehi - Holden Hughes 52G 14A, Jasysten Larsen 60% faceoffs, 20G

No. 8 Northridge (8-8) v. No. 9 Box Elder (7-8)
Northridge - Andrew Tate 38G 19A, Callum Dibble 126 saves 53% save percentage
Box Elder - Austin McCormick 50G 7A, Radley Bruderer 140 saves 55% save percentage

Boys Division C Bracket

Here’s a look at the games that will take place this Saturday, May 15. The second round will be at the home field of the lower seed on May 19.

No. 8 Judge v. No. 25 Utah Military Academy
Judge won both regular-season matchups, 12-0 and 14-1. The winner plays the winner of the Skyridge v. Payson game.

No. 9 Skyridge v. No. 24 Payson
Skyridge won the regular-season game, 18-1. The winner plays the winner of the Judge v. UMA game.

No. 10 Timpanogos v. No. 23 Mountain Crest
The winner will take on No. 7 Highland.

No. 11 Viewmont v. No. 22 Mountain View
The winner will play No. 6 Logan.

No. 12 Orem v. No. 21 Jordan
Both teams lost to the only common opponent, Waterford. The winner will face No. 5 Herriman.

No. 13 Spanish Fork v. No. 20 Layton
The winner will take on No. 4 Syracuse.

No. 14 West Jordan v. No. 19 Woods Cross
The winner will face No. 3 Bonneville.

No. 15 Springville v. No. 18 Provo
Springville won the first meeting, 14-6. The winner will take on No. 2 Bear River.

Springville Head Coach Jared Ottley said, “While we won the first game, we know they will be coming hungry. We can't come in thinking this will be an easy win.  They want to win just as much as anyone. Jace Welsch is their man. He is the leader of their team. You can work to contain him but his high game IQ keeps him a threat and plays unselfishly...to a fault. He shoots well-placed rockets from anywhere on the field. If our full, first and second, midfield lines can show up healthy we can distribute the ball better in transition. We are pretty much where we wanted to be in the middle of Division C. More importantly, we raised interest in lacrosse here in Springville.  More than anything we wanted to expose our community to the game and get them excited and wanting to be part of something special. It is awesome to see new faces at every home game.”

No. 16 Cedar Valley v. No. 17 Clearfield
The winner takes on No. 1 Pleasant Grove.

Cedar Valley Head Coach Drew Rykert said, “Our opponent every week this year has been ourselves. The wins and losses haven’t been determined by how good or bad our opponents were but by how good or bad we played as a team. But all the respect to Clearfield. Senior Captain Sam Woodruffs help on offense and Freshman goalkeeper Freeman Miyasaki will be the bookends of the game. To host a playoff game in the first year of our program is a good sign of great things to come!”


Girls Division A Bracket

You are invited to join the Tribal West Lacrosse Bracket Challenge. The winner of the girls Division A bracket challenge will get their choice of a camp entry to the Tribe Camp this summer, a $50 gift card to Tribal West or a $25 gift card to Tribal West. The second-place winner will get to choose between whatever the winner doesn’t choose and the third-place winner will get whatever is left.2

Girls Bracket Challenge

First Round - May 18

No. 1 Park City v. No. 16 West Jordan
The Miners are the clear favorites to win the Girls Division A bracket and are led by Kendall Keblish (69 goals) and Samantha Riley (31 assists). The only common opponent is Herriman who Park City beat 17-4 where the Jaguars fell twice, 19-7 and 20-7.

No. 2 Mountain Ridge v. No. 15 Ridgeline
The lone loss for the Sentinels was to Herriman midway through the season. Mountain Ridge is averaging 18.1 goals per game while giving up just 4.6 per game.

No. 3 Skyridge v. No. 14 Corner Canyon
This will be the third meeting between the squads with Skyridge winning both times by just one goal each. I suspect this one will come down to the wire despite the distance in seeds.

Corner Canyon Head Coach Matt Kenning said, “I know a lot about them. Not only did we play them twice this season, but I coached this Junior class when they were Freshmen under the WSL team before sanctioning happened. I also coach their top field players on my club team, Force Elite. If we stick to our game plan, play relaxed and play clean then we may be able to win. As a 14 seed no one expects us to win. I think this is the best match-up of the opening round.”

No. 4 Brighton v. No. 13 Syracuse
The Bengals were No. 10 at one point in the RPI but played themselves into the No. 4 slot. The stats favor Brighton who is led by Oregon commit Haley Taylor (66G, 14A).

No. 5 Herriman v. No. 12 Alta
The Alta defense is allowing 6.6 goals per game compared to 7.8 for Herriman. I suspect this game could be closer than the seeds suggest.

No. 6 Bear River v. No. 11 Waterford
This could be the most intriguing matchup in any bracket. Waterford is scoring more points per game but the Bear River defense is allowing just 2.8 goals per game. One of the best players in the state, Navy-bound Jaimeson Meyer, enters the game with 102 goals on the season but lining up on the other side is Marley Kierstead who has 109 goals on the season.

Waterford Head Coach Betsy Weidner said, “We know Bear River has had a great season, and that we haven't played a single common opponent. We know they have some excellent abilities to put the ball in the next, as they've scored many goals in each game they've played. For our team to win, we are going to have to stay disciplined. We have been working on some fundamental transition concepts, and those will be key to a victory on Tuesday. Chuck Iacobelli and Jaime Meyer will be huge for us on the draw and on the attacking end. We also know that we have to look out for Marley Kierstead! She's had an incredible season for Bear River. We've got a lot of hungry seniors on this team looking to prove that a small school can accomplish something big. We're stoked for the opportunity to compete in the Division A bracket for a second season.”

No. 7 Davis v. No. 10 Olympus
This is a great first-round matchup for both teams. Both teams beat East by double-digits but fell to Brighton by 1 goal (Oly) and 2 goals (Davis).

No. 8 Farmington v. No. 9 Fremont
These two teams will be in the same region next year so this is a great preview of what lies ahead. The Phoenix lost its first game of the year, 16-2, to West Jordan and have won every game since but remain untested. Fremont lost to Syracuse and Davis with both losses coming in late March.

Girls Division B Bracket

First Round - May 18

No. 1 Riverton v. No. 16 Weber
Both teams are giving up about 10 goals per game on average but the Silverwolves are scoring 17.3 while Weber is at just 7.3 goals per game.

No. 2 Wasatch v. No. 15 Green Canyon
The Wasps are the clear favorite on paper. Sophia Nielsen leads the way with 45 goals and 19 assists for Wasatch.

No. 3 Box Elder v. No. 14 Roy
Both teams beat East but lost to Ridgeline by a close margin. This game could be closer than the seeds suggest.

No. 4 Timpview v. No. 13 Pleasant Grove
Both teams beat Timpanogos in the regular season and both lost by a large margin to Olympus. Timpview lost to American Fork by 4 while the Vikings lost to American Fork twice, once by 10 and once by 6. Timpview scores more goals per game and gives up less so my vote would be with the T-Birds.

No. 5 American Fork v. No. 12 Maple Mountain
Both teams beat Springville but that’s where the similarities end. The Cavemen won 16-0 while Maple Mountain won 13-6.

No. 6 Mountain Crest v. No. 11 Lone Peak
As Kenzie said in the podcast, Lone Peak could be a dark horse in Division B.

Lone Peak Head Coach Weslie Lundell said, “It’s going to have to take very solid transitional passing and aggressive ground ball pickups, dominating the draw, and attacking the goal for us to walk away with the win. Which I know is possible. If my girls are on their game, there’s no stopping them. I know they have a key shooter, Kamrie Wilkinson, and Taryn Durham knows how to fight for the ground balls but we can compete. With Freshman Kacee Kelley taking the draw and Camryn McCunes incredible midfield defense, we’ll definitely see a good game come Tuesday.”

No. 7 Provo v. No. 10 Timpanogos
This is a really nice matchup and I suspect this game will be close. The common opponents line up as you would expect with both teams losing to Mountain Ridge while beating fellow Utah County foes.

Provo Head Coach Megan Jensen said, “They have great players, great coaches, and a history of being strong competitors. Our team will need to work well together, move the ball smoothly, and get more draw controls & ground balls then the other team. Our talent is spread across our team, but I think Sally Otterstrom, Fielding Adams, and Libby Jaynes will have a big influence on the outcome of the game. We feel like we’ve already done more than was expected of us, as a new team with only one experienced player, so we are thrilled with our postseason position.  We are so excited to have a home game against a great team.” 

No. 8 Jordan v. No. 9 Juan Diego
The 8/9 game is typically one of the best and I don’t see why this one would be any different.

Girls Division C Bracket

These games will take place this Saturday, May 15. The Second Round will be on May 19 at the home field of the lower seed.

No. 8 Judge v. No. 25 Salem Hills
Winner plays the winner of No. 9 Payson/No. 24 West.

No. 9 Payson v. No. 24 West
Winner plays the winner of No. 8 Judge/No. 25 Salem Hills.

No. 10 Springville v. No. 23 Cedar Valley
Winner plays No. 7 Bingham.

No. 11 Copper Hills v. No. 22 Bonneville
Winner plays No. 6 Highland.

No. 12 Viewmont v. No. 21 Logan
Winner plays No. 5 Sky View.

No. 13 Northridge v. No. 20 Mountain View
Winner plays No. 4 Lehi.

No. 14 Westlake v. No. 19 Orem
Winner plays No. 3 Bountiful.

No. 15 East v. No. 18 Clearfield
Winner plays No. 2 Layton.

No. 16 Skyline v. No. 17 Spanish Fork
Winner plays No. 1 Woods Cross.

College Update

At the MCLA Invitational, BYU beat Liberty, 10-7. UVU lost to Georgia Tech, 17-6. The Cougars will take on Georgia Tech today at 11:30 a.m. CT.

Georgia Tech's win over Utah Valley mirrored Chapman’s win as the Yellow Jackets led just 5-3 after the first quarter, but slammed the door on the Wolverine offense, allowing just three more markers the rest of the way.

Sam Eck paced the Jackets’ offense with four goals while Devin Raun chipped in with a hat trick and three dimes. Gino Pagliaro and Robert Kruszeski combined for eight saves in the win.

Chad Ranslow had three goals for Utah Valley while a pair of Wolverine goalies teamed up for six saves.

Brigham Young capped off the day by rallying from a second-quarter deficit and held off the powerful Liberty offense. The Cougars led, 7-5 at halftime and allowed just two goals over the final two frames, backboned by Mason Moon’s nine saves.

Gavin Crist was the offensive catalyst for BYU, scoring four goals and setting up a fifth.

Keaton Mohs had two goals for the Flames while Ryan Reynolds made 13 saves in net.

Read the full recap here.

That’s it for today! Be kind out there and be sure to follow ULR on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

— Tim Haslam

1

If you are planning on playing NCAA college lacrosse, you can still win the bracket, but the prize will be given to someone else to avoid compliance issues. Also, you cannot win a prize in both bracket challenges.

2

If you are planning on playing NCAA college lacrosse, you can still win the bracket, but the prize will be given to someone else to avoid compliance issues. Also, you cannot win a prize in both bracket challenges.